Shopify is a commerce platform that you can use for both brick-and-mortar and online stores. It's designed for small and midsize businesses, but it can also support enterprise-level companies. Shopify's clients include GE, Nestle, Red Bull and Tesla. It's a Canadian company that provides service to businesses in the United States and approximately 175 countries worldwide.
This is the only company in our review built exclusively for retail businesses. Its cloud-based POS software is accessible from any browser, and it has POS apps for both Android and Apple phones and tablets, though the Retail Package doesn't support Android devices. Shopify is the best POS system for retailers that split their business between physical and online stores.
Shopify is very transparent and posts pricing for its POS software, hardware and payment processing on its website. It offers four service tiers, with pricing ranging from $9 to $299 per month, with an additional $49 per month for the Retail Package. Although the Retail Package is optional, most retailers will need it, since it allows you to add staff members to the system, set PINs, and connect common retail peripherals such as a cash drawer and receipt printer to the system.
You can choose whether you use Shopify as your payment processor or one of the 70 third-party processors it integrates with. If you upgrade to the Retail Package, however, your choices are more limited; you can choose from Authorize.net, First Data, Vantiv and USA ePay.
If you choose Shopify as your processor, you pay a flat rate for each transaction you process. Rates vary from 2.4% to 2.7% of each sale when you accept cards in person using a card reader. If you choose to use a third-party processor, you pay the rates set by your processor plus a Shopify surcharge ranging from 0.5% to 2% of each sale. Although this is likely more expensive than processing directly through Shopify, it may be a good option if you want to use this POS software but are locked into a contract with another processing company.
You can purchase your POS hardware from Shopify or from a third-party vendor, as long as it's compatible with Shopify. The company lists compatible item numbers on its website, which is helpful information if you're comparison shopping or wondering if you can use your existing equipment.
This POS system's terms of service are posted online, and the company does a good job of summarizing and explaining what each section says in plain English (though, as with any contract, you should read the terms of service in their entirety before signing up). Its terms are favorable; it provides service on a month-to-month basis and allows you to cancel your account at any time without incurring cancellation fees. Shopify allows you to purchase your equipment outright, which is a better option than accepting free equipment in exchange for signing a lengthy contract with expensive early cancellation penalties.
Shopify offers all the feature sets we looked for in POS solutions. Its inventory management tools allow you to organize your products in a variety of ways, including by category, season or sale. It tracks inventory levels, supports product variations such as size and color, and allows you to assign or create barcodes. It supports an unlimited number of products, though if you use the system with a tablet, there is a limit – between 2,000 and 7,000 products – if you wish to avoid performance issues.
You can create customer profiles using this POS solution that include contact information and order history. If you want to use the email addresses you collect for marketing or to offer loyalty perks, you can do so using one of the many apps that integrate with Shopify.
Shopify includes between two and 15 staff accounts for its top three plans, while the Retail Package lets you add an unlimited number of employees to the system. You can assign each user a staff PIN, and if you opt for the Retail Package, you can use these numbers to track your employees' sales and register history. You can see an overview of your sales analytics on your dashboard, and generate multiple inventory and sales reports.
Using the Shopify POS, you can accept all major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. You can also accept gift cards if you're on the Shopify or Advanced Shopify plan. You can choose between two card readers: a magstripe card reader that plugs into the headphone jack on your tablet or phone, or a Tap, Chip, and Swipe card reader that allows you to accept EMV chip cards and mobile wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
If you want your customers to be able to place orders online, or if you want to open an online store in addition to your brick-and-mortar shop, Shopify is a great option. With the Basic Shopify plan and above, your account includes a website and blog. If you already have a website or only want to sell your products on Facebook, you can accept online orders using Shopify Lite.
You can reach customer support 24/7 by phone, email and live chat. On the support page of the company's website, you can see the current wait time for chat and the current response time for email, which can be useful if you have a time-sensitive issue and want to choose the fastest contact option. Overnight shipping for replacement equipment is available. If you need to migrate data from another system, you can do it yourself using a CSV file or hire a Shopify expert to do it for you.
Shopify's website is packed with resources for small businesses. It has guides, videos and podcasts for retailers, with topics including analytics, marketing and eCommerce. It also has active community forums where you can discuss the system with other Shopify users. One unique offering Shopify provides its merchants is a set of free business tools, including a logo maker, a terms and conditions generator, various templates, and calculators.
Shopify is a terrific option for retailers, particularly brick-and-mortar merchants who want to expand online, as the top three of its four plans include a website and blog in the subscription price. It provides POS software on a month-to-month basis and doesn't charge any early termination fees. The Retail Package costs extra, but is a necessity for businesses that need to add more employees to the system or want to add common retail hardware such as a cash drawer, receipt printer and barcode scanners to their systems.
How Does Your Business Stack Up? Get a Free Business Report Card!Get My Report Card